Mega-Mansions Invade the Mesa

By now most Santa Barbarans have noticed the two mega-mansions being constructed on the hill on the north side of Cliff Drive above Santa Fe Place, located at 1213 and 1224 Harbor Hills Drive, in Santa Barbara’s Mesa neighborhood. On the “Nextdoor East Mesa” neighborhood posting platform, neighbors have asked about these structures:

“What was Santa Barbara’s planning office thinking in issuing construction permits for buildings so much larger than the average Mesa home?”

“What are the environmental impacts of constructing such large structures on the fragile coastal soils of the Mesa?”

“What kind of egomaniacs need such ostentatious homes and do they feel that they are somehow better than the rest of their Mesa neighbors?”

“Will the construction of these mega-mansions spark a Freudian ‘mine-is-bigger-than-yours’ competition with the next Mesa mansion being larger still?”

In a request to respond to these questions, the Mesa’s city councilmember, Mike Jordan, replied by stating only:  “The projects are all permitted and were processed by the City according to the municipal code.”

However, the Sierra Club’s very helpful local chapter chair, Katie Davis, referenced the Sierra Club’s “California Housing Policy” that recommends the “preservation of hills … wetlands, and other … natural areas to curb suburban development and eliminate sprawl.” This new construction would not come close to complying with the Sierra Club’s housing policy that is meant to create a more livable environment for all Californians.

It’s important to remember that not so long ago, Los Angeles was a quaint coastal town known for its wonderful climate and beautiful location, not unlike Santa Barbara, before it became what it is today. Let’s not let Santa Barbara and the Mesa become the next Los Angeles.


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